It was never an easy decision for Shelton High’s senior two-sport standout athlete Chris Kanios to choose between baseball and football.
When it came to picking which sport to continue at the collegiate level, the decision was no easier for Kanios. In the end, he committed to baseball full time, signing a National Letter of Intent to play at Central Connecticut State University on Friday morning at Shelton High School — with one small caveat.
Kanios does not have to leave football behind completely.
“It took me about a week-and-a-half to figure out what I actually wanted to do between football and baseball,” Kanios said. “Lucky enough, Central is giving me the opportunity if I wanted to I could play both.”
Having a head baseball coach at CCSU, long-time skipper Charlie Hickey, who himself was a two-sport standout made the decision easier for Kanios.
“Coach Hickey did it himself when he was in college, so he understands obviously where I’m coming from,” Kanios said.
Kanios, a three-time varsity letterman in baseball, was one of the Gaels’ team captains this spring. He was named All-Southern Connecticut Conference, Class LL All-State and the team’s most valuable player.
“I’m very proud of his accomplishments,” Shelton High baseball coach Scott Gura said. “He worked hard the last three years. He was our shortstop last year, our center field this year. It just shows his capability to change positions and what a good athlete he is.”
With defensive ability that plays up the middle and a live bat at the top of the order, Kanios flashes the five-tool skill set that teams covet at every level.
“His strength was being a lead-off batter, with some speed and some power,” Gura said. “He ended up batting .390, he had 26 hits, 23 runs scored… He just played extremely well for us. We considered him ‘The Freak’ in parenthesis, because he’s the best athlete I’ve coached in 17 years here. Not necessarily the best baseball player, but the best athlete.”
That athleticism was apparent starring for coach Jeff Roy’s Shelton football team. Kanios was also a team captain for Gaels, as well as a two-time New Haven Register All-Area selection and earned All-State accolades.
In two years, serving primarily as a wide receiver, Kanios notched 44 receptions for 874 yards and 10 touches. He amassed 1,342 all-purpose yards and intercepted three passes on defense as a cornerback.
Unfortunately for Kanios and the Gaels, his senior season was cut short after four games when he broke his leg against Xavier High.
“You can always get hurt in baseball but it’s a less taxing sport on your body,” Kanios said. “I’m not getting hit every play.”
During his sophomore year, Kanios elected not to play football and to focus on baseball. He returned to the football team his junior year and terrorized secondaries across the SCC in helping the Gaels reach the state final.
“I went after my love of baseball first when I skipped my sophomore season of football,” Kanios said. “It’s ironic how it worked it, being focused on football for awhile.”
Kanios will continue to hone his baseball skills this summer as a member of the Post 16 American Legion team, before heading to CCSU this fall.
“He’s a five-tool player and I think the best in still in front of him because he’s still growing as a baseball player. I think he’s going to have a successful four years at school.”